International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW)
The International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW) represents international Animal Protection Organizations (APOs) at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). There is more about its work here. Humane Society International (HSI) currently chairs ICFAW, and World Animal Protection provides the secretariat. WAN is an active member. ICFAW supports the development and implementation of OIE standards on animal welfare and works to ensure that animal welfare is fairly represented at events such as the recent Global Animal Welfare Conference and the OIE General Assembly.
The OIE and ICFAW have recently begun discussions regarding a cooperation agreement between the two bodies. The agreement will formalize ICFAW’s relationship with the OIE and provide guidelines on how the organizations can share information and work together in the future. A draft of the agreement is currently being discussed. Collaborating agreements between the OIE and other bodies, including the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA, now World Animal Protection), can be viewed on the OIE’s website.
85th OIE General Assembly
The 2017 OIE General Assembly will take place in Paris from 21 to 26 May. During the assembly, OIE delegates vote on the approval of new standards, including those covering animal welfare. In addition, at the May assembly there will be a vote to disband the Animal Welfare Working Group (more information on this below).
Global Animal Welfare Conference
The OIE’s Global Animal Welfare Conference took place from 6-8 December 2016, in Guadalajara, Mexico. There is more information about this, including a program, here. The conference culminated in the presentation of the draft Global Animal Welfare Strategy and Recommendations of the conference. The draft Recommendations can be viewed here. For more information about the outcomes of the conference and to view all posters, presentation slides, and abstracts, click here.
Global Animal Welfare Strategy
The OIE drafted a new Global Animal Welfare Strategy which was presented at the Global Animal Welfare Conference. However, this will not be considered and finalized by the OIE until the 2017 General Assembly in May. More information about this strategy can be found in the OIE's press release here.
Animal Welfare Working Group and the Animal Welfare Forum
At the Guadalajara meeting the OIE Director General told ICFAW members that the OIE is planning to disband the Animal Welfare Working Group (AWWG), which was founded in 2002. The AWWG was responsible for coordinating and managing the OIE’s animal welfare activities. This will be voted upon during the OIE General Assembly in May. While this is a concerning move, the OIE has communicated that it intends to create an Animal Welfare Forum as a replacement. ICFAW has drafted a document outlining the role it sees for the forum, but there has been no further information from the OIE. This is likely to be a major topic for ICFAW in the run up to the May General Assembly.
A major part of the OIE’s work on AW is the development of international standards. Here is an easy infographic with links to these.
The OIE Code Commission is currently working on a new pig welfare standard, which was revised in February after an initial public consultation period. ICFAW will have the opportunity to participate in a second round of comments later this year. The Code Commission is also considering standards for laying hens and reptiles at slaughter. Once these standards have been drafted, they too will be opened up to consultation from ICFAW and others.
Regional Animal Welfare Strategies
The OIE also supports the development of Regional AW Strategies (RAWS), which are designed to progressively develop AW across regions. There is more information about these here.
The OIE Platform on Animal Welfare in Europe now has a dedicated website. A new Action Plan for the platform is being consolidated (this will be the second Action Plan), and will be presented/discussed in a third stakeholders consultation this year. There was a meeting of the European Animal Welfare Focal Points in March in Moldova.
Asia, Far East, and Oceana (AFEO)
The AFEO RAWS met at the Global Animal Welfare Conference in Guadalajara in December of last year. The RAWS’ action plan was briefly reviewed. The next meeting will take place in April, prior to the Regional Commission and the May OIE General Assembly.
There has been progress on the development of a pan-African RAWS (see below).
At a recent African Regional Commission meeting in Namibia, the OIE Director General announced that 50% of the OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund is directed towards programs in Africa, but it is unclear to what degree any of these programs currently cover animal welfare implementation.
Animal Welfare Focal Points
Some APOs have reported that their OIE AW Focal Point has not been carrying out all the duties of this role stipulated in the Terms of Reference. WAN is in the process of drafting a blog and resources which will give tips and advice for how APOs can engage and assist their AW Focal Points, as well as how Focal Points can more effectively carry out their Terms of Reference. Follow our blog to receive this post when it is ready.